Snapchat’s “Our Stories” are generating tens of millions of views

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Credit: Illustration by Gigaom

Snapchat is telling people how many views their “Our Story” clip receives if they make one in the collective, crowdsourced section. Based on people I’ve interviewed, it appears Snapchat’s Our Stories are hitting viewing numbers that television’s most popular shows see, although it’s tough to get a clear picture of Snapchat’s metrics.

snapchat snowmageddon

One user’s snap was viewed almost 25 million times after appearing in New York’s Snowmaggedon “Our Story.”

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a Snapchat screenshot of someone’s contribution to New York’s Snowmageddon “Our Story.” The app showed them that it was viewed 25 million times and users took a screenshot of it 5,000 times.

I found other “Our Story” contributors who also saw views in the tens of millions, one of whom saw views as high as 27 million. For the Snapchat newbies, “Our Story” is a collection of snaps submitted by users about certain events, like music festivals and holidays. These last 24 hours before disappearing.

To put “27 million views” in context, Sunday’s Oscars’ views averaged 36.6 million people in the U.S., according to Nielsen ratings. That’s the Oscars — one of television’s most popular live events. Breaking Bad, which famously smashed viewership records in its season finale, averaged 10.3 million viewers for that episode. The caveat for both of these numbers is that Nielsen ratings aren’t always on point, but they at least give a ballpark estimate.

After this story ran, Snapchat reached out and clarified that these are unique user views — in other words, the “Our Story” view number isn’t inflated by people watching the story multiple times. It’s the number of actual users who viewed it. Snapchat’s most recently rumored monthly active user number is 100 million.

As far as I can tell, Snapchat’s “Our Story” metric hasn’t been reported yet. Prior to publishing, a Snapchat spokesperson wouldn’t confirm the numbers with me. She said the only number Snapchat is currently releasing publicly about story views is that one billion stories are viewed a day, which includes individual users’ stories. As a result, it doesn’t give us a good sense of Snapchat’s ability to rival television with its “second screen” features like Our Story and Discover.

After publishing, the company wouldn’t go on record confirming that they’re seeing this amount of views. They did however said the numbers sent to users who get a snap into a story are accurate.

I hopped on the phone with the 25 million Snowmageddon “Our Story” contributor, who wanted to remain anonymous, and they confirmed the data. I found nine other examples on Twitter of people who posted similar numbers after their snaps made it in an Our Story. Almost half of them were over 10 million views.

It’s worth noting that some of these people published their screenshots earlier in the day, and they continued accumulating views as the 24-hour cycle went on. It’s also worth noting that people whose snaps appear earlier in the collaborative story likely see much higher views that those whose snaps appear later.

Dana Krangel's snap of Warehaus's social headphones was viewed by over 27 million people after it appeared in the CES "Techies in Vegas" Snapchat story

Dana Krangel’s snap of Wearhaus’s social headphones was viewed by over 27 million people after it appeared in the CES “Techies in Vegas” Snapchat story

Dana Krangel, a marketing manager for a social headphones company, landed the first snap on the CES “Techies in Vegas” story. It saw over 27 million views. “I didn’t even realize it made it to the Our Story until all these random people from my past started posting on my Facebook wall,” Krangel told me. “My sister doesn’t have Snapchat and our 13-yr-old niece sent it to her. Someone in New Zealand even tweeted it at me.”

Social media star Jerome Jarre revealed his audience in a Time article — he sees roughly a million views a day for his personal Snapchat Story. Views of Discover content, which are clips reported and curated by media companies like Vice and CNN, are rumored to be very high but the exact numbers aren’t public.

These early “Our Story” metrics give us a more concrete sense of Snapchat’s potential as an entertainment broadcasting entity.

3 Comments

christina

I tapped hide ourstory by accident how do I get it back on my feed? :(

John

You compared apples to oranges. The snapchat view totals are all cumulative global numbers. The Oscars estimate from Nielsen is an average minute number, for the USA only. The cume USA number was reported at 60 million. It’s important to understand all the research numbers and measurement methods before you report and draw conclusions from them.

Carmel DeAmicis

Hey John — thanks for flagging that. I’ve updated the piece to include the U.S. caveat and the word “average.”

The average number of viewers is the most widely cited, standard metric for measuring the size of a broadcast’s audience, which is why I went with that number. Comparing TV viewers and Snapchat viewers will always be apples to oranges — viewers of a Snapchat story choose to watch part of it whereas TV viewers might just click through the channel while surfing around. Still, the comparison helps give us a sense of the scale of Snapchat’s numbers — a huge audience given it’s a mobile phone app.

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